Finger blood flow (BF) and skin sympathetic nerve activity (SSA) to the glabrous side of the hand were measured during immersion of the hand in a water bath in which temperature (Tw) was raised every 10 min by steps of 2 degrees C from 35 or 37 to 41 degrees C. The experiments were conducted during the summer in rooms in which ambient temperature was 28-32 degrees C or 35 degrees C. The nine healthy male subjects were wearing summer clothes. Finger BF through vessels located deep in the skin was measured by using laser-Doppler flowmetry (ALF-2100, Advance). With the use of a tungsten microelectrode SSA was recorded directly from the median nerve at the wrist or antecubital fossa of the tested arm. With finger vessels already dilated at Tw of 35 or 37 degrees C, finger BF decreased, with a concomitant increase in the SSA bursts as Tw rose to 39-41 degrees C. We confirmed in one subject that anesthetic blockade of the median nerve at the site proximal, but not distal, to the recording site blocked responses to the step rise in Tw in the SSA bursts and in finger BF. From these results we conclude that, with the subject in a warm state, blood vessels of the finger respond to local heating with vasoconstriction, and this finger vasoconstriction is evoked reflexively, largely through the increased sympathetic outflow to the resistance vessels of the finger.
- Copyright © 1990 the American Physiological Society